Comms Business speaks to Charles Williams, Sales Director EMEA and India at VTech, about the launch of their SIP phone range in the UK next month and how his company intends to take market share from competitors whilst at the same time offering the channel a great margin opportunity.
Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Not many readers will be familiar with the name VTech. In a nutshell what does the company do and why is VTech relevant to the channel?
Established in 1976 and headquartered in Hong Kong the VTech Group employs some 30,000 people worldwide and its revenue for the financial year ended 31st March 2015 was USD $1,879.8 million – with telecoms products accounting for just over one third of that sum.
It’s a little known fact that VTech is the largest manufacturer of cordless phones in the world with over 35% market share. The numbers are huge; in 2014 alone we shipped 42 million handsets.
VTech invests heavily in research and development spending US$58 million in the last financial year. Around 1,500 professionals are employed worldwide in R&D alone at centres in Canada, Germany, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Unlike many of our competitors in the SIP phone market VTech owns and runs its own manufacturing facilities.
CBM: The SIP phone market in the UK is both crowded and competitive. How do you expect to make your mark here and take market share from the incumbent suppliers?
Whilst we will be new to the SIP phone market in the UK, we are not at all new to SIP. Our SIP phone products have already been launched successfully in USA and VTech is a major brand in the global hospitality market where we have been shipping SIP phones for over four years. Our SIP stack is very stable and provides a reliable and robust solution for users – our SIP phones are currently in use at the Shard in London.
We intend to grow our SIP phone business through service providers and installers into many vertical sectors and have a growing list of interoperability partners such as BroadSoft, Genband, and Asterisk with many more in the pipeline.
So, we enter the UK SIP business handset market with a long-term commitment and we are here to stay.
CBM: How will VTech be bringing its product range to market in the UK?
Our market strategy will be centred on developing a select number of strong relationships. We will not be over-distributing our products as we want resellers to benefit from maintaining healthy, on-going margins.
We will be making announcements very shortly that will outline nationwide availability and support for our products across the whole of the UK and Ireland and across all reseller models through a carefully selected and limited number of highly skilled, focused and committed distribution partners.
CBM: Why should resellers sell your products?
The brand is very strong but in addition there are many more reasons why resellers should look at our products.
First and foremost, our channel model is being built to support our partners, not compete against them. We are set to announce a simple partner certification scheme that offers extra training, marketing collateral and discounts.
Looking at our products – and just take one of our phone features; we have an onboard DECT RF module which enables customers to register extra wireless handsets and/or headsets for greater freedom of movement. With competitive products this feature is either just not available or needs a degree in rocket science to enable. With the VTech application, anyone can attach our DECT devices in seconds.
We are already proven in the SIP world via our dedicated range of hotel phones and with a stable SIP stack, we are experiencing strong growth year on year.
VTech will give its resellers great margin opportunities through a well featured, competitively priced product range that has unparalleled support. We will not over-distribute which means channel partners and suppliers can confidently specialise on our brand.
VTech has a long, rich heritage in electronic products and a great reputation for quality and reliability.
Resellers can sell our products with confidence; product reliability, and remember we own and operate the manufacturing facilities, meaning that we can offer an outstanding and product differentiating three-year warranty on our phones.
That three-year warranty will certainly look attractive to resellers and may provoke a response from the competition. We have seen and tried the VTech SIP product range and that DECT feature really is simple. Next month we will be exclusively reporting back from the distributors appointed and understanding the detail on how the products will be made available in the UK.
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